Almost anyone is aware of the fact that global warming is real because it affects the whole environment on our planet, but mostly, only a small part of the population tries to change something in their habits.
The exceedingly worldwide increase of meteorological happenings takes us to deal with many uncomfortable challenges, like heat waves, floodings, heavy storms and rainfall, droughts, melting ice and glaciers, that lead to raise continuously the sea level. It happens all over the world, in the northern and southern hemisphere.
The drastic anthropogenic influence of the emissions on earth is about to raise the temperature between four and six degrees Celsius until the end of the century if it is not gone directly against it. Soon, there will not be a stable climate anymore, because of the possible collapsing of many important systems on our planet.
The consequences of billions of people are affecting tremendously the future generations and their wealth. There are already cases like food shortage, water deficiency, maladies and rural depopulation that show us, that the ones, who contributed the less to the climate change, are the ones who are the most afflicted by the climate change. Especially, the third world countries, in which the poorest people live in, are the most concerned ones.
Although the problem and the solution are known, most people just do not want to get out of the comfort, that they have built up through the years, like driving to a place by car, although they could ride by bike or walk.
2. Global warming
The global warming not only affects our Planet but also the living habitat which is essential for humanity. The increase in air temperature settles the climate system at high pressure which leads to a change of the average weather phenomena. The warming trend has raised since the late 19th century about 1.1 degrees Celsius, which are most likely human-made. Due to the use of burning fossil fuel and the waste of agriculture the output of emissions have accelerated.
Global warming today can be seen as a variety of unusual weather events which take place around the world. Hot summer, mild winters or even drought periods are not unusual. The melting of glaciers is an even more significant evidence of the dangerous rise in temperature. The effects of global warming are appearing right now.1
2.1 The greenhouse effect
“Human activities from pollution to overpopulation are driving up the earth’s temperature and fundamentally changing the world around us. The main cause is a phenomenon known as the greenhouse effect, gases in the atmosphere such as water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide (dinitro monoxit N2O) and chloro/flour/carbons (CFC) let the sun’s light in but keep some of the heat from escaping like the glass walls of a greenhouse”.2
The greenhouse effect is a natural mechanism created millions of years ago. It is an essential process which regulates the overall temperature of the Earth. A major problem we now face is that human activities such as burning fossil fuels, agriculture, and land clearing will support the output of greenhouse gases. This process will enhance the greenhouse effect which leads to severe weather and other unpleasant events.3
2.2 Effects of global warming
The increase in temperature is not the only bad sign how global warming affects our environment. Especially the melting of ice sheets and alpine glaciers will have an enormous impact around the world. In some regions, alpine glaciers provide people with useful resources like concrete for asphalt or most important fresh water.
In the animal kingdom, there are also species – some of which are being threatened with extinction due to the global warming. Penguins and polar bears are only a few to name that are threatened by the increase in temperature. Also, the change of precipitation around the world is very noticeable which leads to heavy rainfall and snowfall. Certain weather phenomena like hurricanes or storms can become stronger and more frequently. The transmission of diseases can be enhanced and illnesses such as malaria that is carried by mosquitoes will spread. 4
3. Influence of global warming on our economy
“Global warming affects the geography within which the global economy operates”.5 This effect will lead to a decrease in the number of growing zones. It also affects the coastal areas. Places which are comfortable for humans like certain vacation spots such as Venice can suffer because of the increase in water level. 6
The influence of global warming will not be uniformly distributed across the globe and there will be winners and losers as the planet warms. Developing countries such as Africa rely on agriculture, forestry, and tourism. As temperatures increase further, regions in Africa will face a reduction of its domestic products which leads to a major fall in the export volume.7 Also, the development in certain regions can go backward instead of increasing its progression.
3.1 Damage to infrastructure
“All kinds of infrastructures – transport, power grids, water supply, sewage, buildings, and dikes – are all crucial for the functioning of the economy and society in Europe, now and in the future”.8 When temperatures increase, the damage caused by “sea-level rise, floods, droughts, wildfire, and extreme storms…”9 can cost a large – scale which impacts a fundamentally part of the economy and society across the world.
Mass transit systems like roads, airports, bridges, and railroad tracks are an essential part of economy’s traffic and trading sector. Severe weather phenomena can cripple those vital parts of the economic system which leads to an unknown scale of extensive repair measures and expenses will rise even further.10
3.2 Reduction of productivity
Not only agriculture will suffer because of the global warming but also daily life -related things like work and school can suddenly become a rarity due to the effects of the increase in earth temperature. Heavy rainfall and snowstorm events can slow down daily businesses or even lead to losing jobs. It’s also possible that climate-related health problems because of air pollution or other severe illnesses – can slow down or even reduce the availability of work/school and productivity itself.11
“Despite technological advances, such as improved varieties, genetically modified organisms, and irrigation systems, the weather is still a key factor in agricultural productivity, as well as soil properties and natural communities “(I. Haldar 2010, S. 48).12 Due to the fact that the production of agricultural resources has increased over the past century, “and now provides significant amounts of food,….”13 global warming could cripple the valuable economic importance because of its accompanying symptoms.14
3.3 Refugees and mass migration
When the temperature ascends, it gets more and more likely that people will look for sanctuary. When extreme weather forces people to leave their home, there is no other way than moving towards a safer place. “Global warming is likely to increase the number of “climate refugees”….”15 but nobody knows the exact dimension even though it´s getting speculated that most “climate refugees” will come from Asia and the Pacific.16 The Reasons for mass migration are droughts/ water scarcity, crop yield decrease, tropical storms and the rise of water level. Such mass migrations will lead to an economic disaster which not only increases the cost of certain products it also reduces the production capacity. The living conditions could change within years and states would collapse due to the expenses of migration and global warming. 17
3.4 Escape plan
The influence of global warming on our economy is tremendous. “In order to effectively address global warming, we must significantly reduce the amount of heat-trapping emissions we are putting into the atmosphere.”18 It´s also important to take more responsibility as an individual when it comes to reducing the output of emissions. Reducing the use of mineral resources and stopping deforestation can have a significant impact on lowering the increase in temperature. Unfortunately, some consequences of global warming are unavoidable for example, extreme weather events, sea level rise, droughts and decrease in crop yields are already present. The influence of global warming on our economy is slowly sneaking its way to being irreversible if we ignore our planets sign.19
Global warming will be a major challenge for the economy and society because there is no doubt that the increase in temperature will change our climate in the next century. So what can we do to prevent global warming? Political solutions as well as developing new energy resources must be considered due to the economic development which is based on increasing energy usage. But we also have to accept that certain weather phenomena will occur. If we can adapt to these situations in a short space of time we can literally prevent damage that could be caused by global warming accompanying symptoms.
12 Book, “Global Warming: The Causes and Consequences” By Ishita Haldar
13 Book, “Global Warming: The Causes and Consequences” By Ishita Haldar
14 Book, “Global Warming: The Causes and Consequences” By Ishita Haldar